The normality of error

Journal article

Carter, Sam and Goldstein, Simon. (2021). The normality of error. Philosophical Studies. 178, pp. 2509-2533.
AuthorsCarter, Sam and Goldstein, Simon

Formal models of appearance and reality have proved fruitful for investigating structural properties of perceptual knowledge. This paper applies the same approach to epistemic justification. Our central goal is to give a simple account of The Preface, in which justified belief fails to agglomerate. Following recent work by a number of authors, we understand knowledge in terms of normality. An agent knows p iff p is true throughout all relevant normal worlds. To model The Preface, we appeal to the normality of error. Sometimes, it is more normal for reality and appearance to diverge than to match. We show that this simple idea has dramatic consequences for the theory of knowledge and justification. Among other things, we argue that a proper treatment of The Preface requires a departure from the internalist idea that epistemic justification supervenes on the appearances and the widespread idea that one knows most when free from error.

Keywordsnormality; preface; justification; knowledge first; agglomeration; appearance and reality
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Journal citation178, pp. 2509-2533
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85099373066
Open accessPublished as green open access
Page range2509-2533
Author's accepted manuscript
All rights reserved
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Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online12 Jan 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Sep 2020
Deposited05 Aug 2021
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